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Ah, rats!

8 May 2013

A plethora of stories in yesterday’s Mexican media (El Universal, Jornada, Televisa) on a Zacatecan specialty… rat soup.

Photo by Pablo Ramos/La Jornada

Photo by Pablo Ramos/La Jornada

While fried rat is served up in some of the finest cantinas of Fresnillos, Caldo de rata is also a traditional home-cooked Zacatecan specialty… served up with a medley of local vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, calabaza, chayote) and lightly flavored with cilatro.

Although the story can be (and is) spun as a comment on hunger in the north, caldo de rata is also being praised as a traditional dish that provides a highly nutritious meal… and, for cantina snackers, a smart alternative to potato chips or tacos.

The rats themselves are not street rats, but “Ratas del campo”… packrats (specifically, the White-Throated Woodrat, Neotoma albigula) which itself has a pretty healthy diet of nopales.  While there is some danger that packrats are being over-hunted (usually by boys with slingshots) for the twenty or so pesos each rat brings in the market, which could change if foodies catch on to this latest trend in low fat dining.

¡Buen provecho!

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